Tag Archives: Guitar

Artist Feature: David Bornstein

Songwriter David Bornstein comes at us straight out of Madrid via New Hampshire. We got a chance to catch up with him in Madrid after a performance at Café la Palma, and he brings us some inspiring Reflection & Response below. Exploring themes around his music and independent creative processes, David lets us know what’s good from the mind of an active creator establishing his own lane. Peep the dialogue below and catch his group PATIENT 108 live in Madrid this Saturday!

David Bornstein

I believe music has the power and place in society to create awareness and make people think and question the world in which we live. Candor is the key.

– David Bornstein

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

DB: I spent most of my life in Durham, New Hampshire. I went to the school district and then after traveling/working majored in history with a dual major in International Affairs.

I didn’t really start playing the guitar or writing songs until after I graduated high school, but slowly and surely it became a part of me. After I graduated from U.N.H I came to Spain to work on a music project with an old friend fusing original alternative rock with the technicality of flamenco guitar. After many a trial and tribulation and multiple attempts at making the project work I found it necessary to cut the cord and move on. When people ask me what I’m doing in Madrid, I can´t help but remember that I originally came here to work on that project. In the end, Madrid has been the place where I learned to find myself and grow as an artist. That’s something I find more important than any song or work alone.

Shortly after the project ended I started playing solo gigs and organizing shows with other musicians at bars and pubs around Madrid. During this time I focused on improving my abilities on the guitar and developing a more percussive sound to emphasize rhythm.

Right now I’m playing with my newly formed band PATIENT 108.  Kester Jones (electric guitar) hails from England, Xabier Aquino (bass) is from Mexico, and Q (drums) has an identity crisis. They’re all phenomenal musicians and a pleasure to work with. We released our first, 5 song EP, Preacher’s Got The Gun,  in October 2013.  You can stream or download that album here:  http://patient108.bandcamp.com.

Our next show is February 1st, so be sure to come if you live in Madrid!! Details below.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

DB: To me the ultimate test of good music is candor. If music, any type of music, comes from someplace honest and earnest with love or passion, then the result will be something naturalunforced, and unique. There are no rules or genres to this, it’s just something I feel when I hear something.

Music doesn’t have to have a message or exactly mean anything at all to be earnest, but I try to write songs that say something or raise questions I think are important without giving any exact answer. I’ve become interested in working on songs with themes of human nature, war, identity, and illusion. I spend time reflecting on these issues not only as objects to be studied apart from myself, but as an inward study of self inquiry. The end result is a response; a social commentary, and a reflection of society which ultimately serves to express my individual experience and perception. I believe music has the power and place in society to create awareness and make people think and question the world in which we live. Candor is the key.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

DB: Each of the three songs I’ve included deal with themes mentioned above in their own particular way. I don’t like to say too much about a song, allowing instead for each listener to reflect and respond to them in their own way.

Child of War explores humanity’s  relationship with war, progress, civilization, murder and denial.

Transmigration deals with identity, temporality, and the interconnected nature of all things.

Right Gun looks at power structures in the U.S. and how we are used as weapons against ourselves.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

Continue reading

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Feature: Pantoja

Tenemos una voz que conlleva la idea de Reflexión y Respuesta como ninguna otra. Pantoja es músico con intereses y influencias son tan diversas cómo los estilos de su propia obra. El dialogo que nos regala este artísta nos hace repensar las posibilidades de nuestras habilidades cómo tal. Pantoja es activo y inspira a todos nosotros de reflecionar y responder de una forma más profunda y creativa.

We have today a voice that conveys Reflection and Response as no one has before. Pantoja is a musician with interests and influences that are as diverse as his own work. The dialogue he presents us with makes reconsider the possibilities of our ability. Pantoja is active and inspires all of us to reflect and respond in a deeper and more creative way.

Pantoja Portrait

Si eres un artista sigue aprendiendo, si no lo eres, busca un arte que encaje contigo, ya que, todos necesitamos enseñar lo que sentimos y lo que pensamos. Dentro de cada ser humano hay un gran artista. No dejes que tu cerebro sea reprimido y oprimido, hackea tu mente y rompe los esquemas… Sal por unos instantes de tu vida sistematizada y explota en el mundo de la creatividad.

If you are an artist, keep learning, and if you aren’t find an art that works for you because all human beings have the need to show how we feel and what we think. Inside each human being there is a great artist.  Don’t let your mind be repressed or oppressed, hack your brain and break the blueprint….Leave for a few moments your systemized life and explore the world of creativity.

– Pantoja

Para empezar con algunos puntos básicas, de dónde vienes? Dónde estás?

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

P: Vengo de las coloridas y salvajes tierras de América del Sur. Nací en Santa Cruz de la Sierra en Bolivia, aunque viví hasta los nueve años en Tiquipaya, un pequeño y tranquilo pueblo de Cochabamba. Crecí en una casa con cinco perros, algunos loros, un guacamayo, muchos gallos y gallinas, un tucán, algún que otro gato y un mono. Siempre he estado en total conexión con la naturaleza; es algo que me gusta y veo que es sumamente necesario para cualquier ser humano. ¡Oh cómo echo de menos ese verde de las montañas! Se podría decir que respirar el aire de ese lugar alarga la vida. 

A los nueve años mis padres decidieron venir a España y hasta el día de hoy aquí seguimos. Hasta hace unos seis meses vivía con mi familia en un pueblo de Guadalajara, en Castilla-La Mancha, hasta que vine a vivir a Madrid con dos amigos integrantes de un grupo de heavy metal que teníamos formado. Por tanto, ahora mismo, mi base de operaciones (refugio atómico como yo lo llamo), se encuentra en esta apasionante ciudad. Me he enamorado de sus luces y sus ruidos, sus días y sus noches. Madrid es para mi una gran fuente de inspiración y me hace estar muy activo musicalmente.

P: I come from the colorful and wild lands of South America. I was born in Santa Cruz de la Sierra in Bolivia, although until I was 9 I lived in a small and tranquil town called Tiquipaya, near Cochabamba . I grew up in a house with 5 dogs, a few wolves, a parrot, many chickens and hens, a toucan, a cat here and there and a monkey. I have always had total connection with nature- it’s something that I like and understand to be extremely important for any human being. Oh how I miss the green of those mountains! It could be said that breathing in the air of that place makes one’s life longer.

 My parents decided to come to Spain when I was 9 and we’ve been here ever since. Until about 6 months ago, I lived with my family in a town in Guadalajara, Castilla-La Mancha. Then I came to live in Madrid with two friends of mine from a heavy metal band that we we’re a part of. Therefore, my base of operations (or my nuclear bomb shelter as I call it) is this exciting city. I’ve fallen in love with its lights and sounds, its days and its nights. Madrid remains a great source of inspiration and keeps me very musically active.

Que quiere decir “reflexión,” y “respuesta,” para ti?

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

P: La reflexión es una de las herramientas más poderosas que tiene el ser humano, gracias a ella el cerebro es capaz de cambiarse, de mejorarse. Las intensas conversaciones conmigo mismo, en las que, a veces estamos de acuerdo, otras veces discutimos mucho y en otras ocasiones nos ignoramos o no nos entendemos. Todo eso es fruto de la reflexión en mi mente, con el único fin de explorarse y conocerse, encontrar el “yo” independiente del simple y vano ego. La reflexión es un arte de la mente, es algo que se aprende y entrena, te guía y te hace tropezar, te hace viajar al paraíso o te lleva a las puertas del infierno, te hace ser esquemático y cuadriculado pero también imaginativo y espiritual. Al fin y al cabo todo es química neurológica, y esa constante danza neuronal en nuestros cerebros nos hace ser personas.

 La respuesta es una alegría, la resolución de la “duda”, una de las grandes cualidades del ser humano. La duda ha sido el motor evolutivo para el hombre en este planeta, gracias a ella hemos ido encontrando cada vez más y más respuestas, hemos ido investigando y preguntándonos con el simple objetivo de recibir respuestas. Y cada respuesta ha sido una enorme alegría, simplemente hay que mirar nuestro entorno tecnológico… sin embargo, creo que en el entorno más humano nos faltan aún respuestas que recibir. 

 A nivel personal no dejamos de buscarlas tanto en nuestro interior como en el exterior, necesitamos la verdad de las cosas, tenemos esa curiosidad típica de los seres vivos. Aprovecha tus cualidades de humano. Duda, curiosea y pregunta, ese es tu trabajo.

P: Reflection is one of human being’s most powerful skills. Thanks to this practice, the brain is able to change and to get better. Throughout intense conversations with myself, I can be in agreement with myself, while othertimes we can be in disagreement or there can be misunderstandings. All of this is the result of reflection in my own brain with the only goal to explore oneself and know oneself further –to find the “me” independent of the simple and hollow ego. Reflection is an art of the mind, it’s something that is learned and practiced, it guides you and can make you fall, it can make you ascend to the heavens or bring you to the gates of hell, it can make you more schematic and rigid but also imaginative and spiritual. In the end, it’s our brain that makes us people.

Response is a joy, the resolution of “doubt,” which is a classic human quality. Doubt has been the motor of human evolution on the planet, thanks to which we have been able to find more and more responses and we’ve investigated and asked ourselves questions with the objective to find answers. Each response has been a great joy and achievement- just look at our technological abilities ….however, I feel human beings have many responses yet to come.

 We never cease to search for responses on a personal level- weather it’s internal or external reflection. We need to know the truth of things, we share the curiosity that can be found throughout living things. Take advantage of your human abilities: to doubt, to be curious, and to ask questions, that is your job.

Cómo se mete tu arte en esta definición?

How does your work fit in with that definition?

P: Con mi música siempre intento transportar a las personas dentro de mi universo. Intento acercarles a mis pensamientos y a los mundos donde viaja mi cabeza, entonces dibujo estos paisajes en forma de ondas. Por ejemplo Wichasa Wakhan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt2j6UPPcmw) es una de las canciones en las que intento transportar al oyente a un mundo cósmico y nativo americano, intentando mostrar cómo el curandero (wichasa wankhan en lakota sioux) tiene esas experiencias visionarias en sus rituales chamánicos.

A veces en mi mente hay paz y espiritualidad, a veces hay ruido y maquinaria concentrada. Es esa constante lucha conmigo mismo por entenderme. Y quizá es por eso por lo que muchas piezas de mi música son muy diferentes unas de otras, porque cada cosa que pienso tiene su precisa forma de expresarse. 

También me gusta fijarme un poco en la psicología en la música, conseguir transformar frecuencias en sentimientos, controlar la mente a través de la música. Alterar el estado de ánimo o la forma de percepción mediante las frecuencias ordenadas (en este caso la música) es un claro caso de control mental.

Otro aspecto importante de mi música es que no me gusta anclarme a un sonido o a los mismos esquemas, precisamente porque hay que evolucionar, hay que cambiar, hay que mejorarse. Y como decía antes, la curiosidad te hace probar cosas nuevas… en mi caso probé una dosis de sonido electrónico y quedé totalmente absorbido por esta forma de hacer música. ¡Hay mil maneras de hacer ruido!

P: I always try to transport people into my universe using my music. I try to bring them closer to my thoughts and the worlds where my mind travels, and I illustrate these landscapes in the form of sound waves. For example, Wichasa Wakhan (https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Vt2j6UPPcmw) is one of my songs in which I attempt to move the listener to a cosmic native American world, with the goal of showing how the healer, or wichasa wankhan in Lakota Sioux, has these visionary experiences through shamanic rituals.

 Sometimes there is peace and spirituality in my mind, other times one finds noise and focused machinery. This is the constant internal battle to understand myself. Perhaps that’s why many pieces of my music are different from one another, because everything I create has a precise form of expression.

 I also enjoy focusing on the psychology in music and I attempt to transform frequencies in feeling, with the aim to control the mind through music. Using frequencies to change one’s mental state or the way one thinks is a clears case of mental control.

 Another important aspect of my music is that I don’t like to anchor myself to a particular sound or scheme, precisely because I feel it’s necessary to evolve, change, and improve. And as I was saying earlier, curiosity allows one to attempt new things….in my case I had a dose of electronic sound and I became consumed by that way of making music. There are a thousand ways to make sound!

Que más estás haciendo actualmente? Que proyectos estás pensando trabajar próximamente?

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

 P: Ahora mismo hago un poco de todo. Mi proyecto principal es un pequeño álbum con canciones hechas aquí en Madrid bajo el título “Panto’s Acid Sunset” (me encantan las puestas de sol, me hipnotizan). Llevo ya unos meses trabajando en ello y espero poder terminarlo dentro de unos pocos meses, la verdad es que no estoy seguro de cuándo será ya que se me da muy bien cambiar de idea en el último momento.

 En el álbum se encuentran muchos estilos, muchos sonidos sintéticos combinados con instrumentos reales. Hay de todo un poco. Podéis escuchar los avances en mi soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/pantosunset

 También estoy componiendo canciones con la guitarra acústica donde trabajo más de manera instrumental ya que tengo que entrenar muchísimo mi técnica vocal, nada que no se haga con tiempo. También intentaré sacar de esto algún pequeño álbum, pero será en un futuro más adelantado.

 Otro de mis proyectos avanza junto a Alexandre Alcántara, otro gran músico con el que llevo trabajando muchos años. Se trata de una banda sonora con una atmósfera psicológica para un cortometraje que está a punto de estrenarse. Más información aquí: http://www.facebook.com/saludos.ciudadanos?fref=ts

 Anteriormente era guitarrista en un grupo de heavy metal en español llamado “Versus” con el que grabé una pequeña demo de cuatro temas en el sótano de nuestro querido cantante. Ahora estamos inactivos por diversos motivos, pero si el futuro quiere, se retomará el proyecto. Podéis encontrarnos aquí: https://www.facebook.com/VersusHeavyMetal?ref=ts&fref=ts        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mzhybgudto

 Y por último en un futuro me gustaría seguir con un pequeño proyecto que empezamos hace mucho tiempo un gran amigo y yo. Inspirado en el grupo de techno-pop pionero en la movida madrileña: “El Aviador Dro y Sus Obreros Especializados”. Nos gustaría hacer trabajos orientados a ese estilo de composición, sonido electrónico y mensajes científicos. Pero ahora mismo, Zillion, mi compañero mutante está en Brasil. 

Aquí hay un poco de nuestros prematuros covers de Aviador Dro: http://www.facebook.com/RefugioAtomico?ref=ts&fref=ts

Este último proyecto es muy muy divertido.

P: I’m currently doing a bit of everything. My main project is a small album of songs I’ve done here in Madrid titled “Panto’s Acid Sunset,” (I love sunsets, they are hypnotizing). I’ve been working on the project for some months and I hope to finish in a few more, although truthfully I’m not sure when it will be done because recently I’ve been keen to change ideas at the last moment.

In the album one can hear different stiles and a mix of synthetic sounds and real instruments. There’s a little bit of everything. You can hear how it’s progressing here on soundcloud: https://soundcloud.com/pantosunset

Additionally, I am writing songs on acoustic guitar where I typically focus on instrumentals because I still need work on my vocal technique, nothing that can’t be done with time. I will attempt to release an album of this material but  it will be a future date.

 Another project is with Alexandre Alcántara, a great musician that I’ve worked with for years now. It’s a soundtrack with a psychedelic vibe that’s for a short film soon to be released. More info can be found here: http://www.facebook.com/saludos.ciudadanos?fref=ts

I used to be a guitarist for a Spanish language heavy metal band named “Versus,” with which I recorded a four-song demo in our lovely singer’s basement. We have been inactive for various reasons, but if the future allows us to get back together, the project will continue. You can listen to us here: https://www.facebook.com/VersusHeavyMetal?ref=ts&fref=ts        http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1mzhybgudto

Lastly, in the future I would like to continue a small project that I started a while ago with a good friend. Inspired by the pioneering techno-pop from the movida Madrileña: “El Aviador Dro y Sus Obreros Especializados.” We would like to do songs oriented towards this style of composition, electronic  sound with scientific message. But for the time being my bandmate Zillion is in Brazil.

 Here are a few of our early covers of Aviador Dro: http://www.facebook.com/RefugioAtomico?ref=ts&fref=ts

This project is a lot of fun.

Quien o que te inspira?

Who or what inspires you?

P: Carl Sagan. Para mi significa una fuente infinita de inspiración. Sus conmovedoras palabras y su manera de enseñar las cosas me hacen sentir una tranquilidad absoluta. Me inspira el cielo y las estrellas, el infinito, el universo, las partículas sub-atómicas, las flores, la brisa y sobretodo los humanos. Musicalmente he de decir que me inspiran muchísimas personas y grupos, pero quiero detenerme un poco en alguien como “Daniel Johnston”, alguien a quien tendría que escuchar todo el mundo. Y en el entorno más electrónico tengo que mencionar a “Kraftwerk” y “Aviador Dro”.

P: Carl Sagan. For me, he is an infinite source of inspiration. His moving words and form of teaching things inspire a feeling of absolute calm. Other inspirations include: the sky and the starts, the universe, sub-atomic particles, flowers, the breeze and most of all humans. Musically I have to admit that I have many different inspirations, but I have to mention people like “Daniel Johnston,” someone everyone in the world needs to listen to. As for electronic music, I have to mention “Kraftwerk,” and “Aviador Dro.”

Hay algo más que quieres que sepa el Collectivo? 

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

P: Es importante llenar nuestro cerebro de datos. Nunca dejar de aprender, haciendo un poco de hincapié en la música, es importante escuchar todo lo que puedas, cualquier cosa, todo es útil y en la diversidad está la clave. Si eres un artista sigue aprendiendo, si no lo eres, busca un arte que encaje contigo, ya que, todos necesitamos enseñar lo que sentimos y lo que pensamos. Dentro de cada ser humano hay un gran artista. No dejes que tu cerebro sea reprimido y oprimido, hackea tu mente y rompe los esquemas… Sal por unos instantes de tu vida sistematizada y explota en el mundo de la creatividad. “Vive como si fueras a morir mañana y aprende como si fueras a vivir para siempre.”

P: It’s important to fill our brain with information. Never stop learning, emphasize listening to all the music you can. Everything is useful and diversity is key. If you are an artist, keep learning, and if you aren’t find an art that works for you because all human beings have the need to show how we feel and what we think. Inside each human being there is a great artist.  Don’t let your mind be repressed or oppressed, hack your brain and break the blueprint….Leave for a few moments your systemized life and explore the world of creativity. Live as if you are going to die tomorrow and learn as if you are going to live forever.

Saludos a….?

Shout out to…?

P: Saludos telepáticos y radioactivos a todo el universo. ¡A mi familia en especial! Y como no… a todos esos hermanos y hermanas esparcidos/as por todos los rincones del planeta.

Y un saludo como no, a vosotros, ¡muchas gracias por todo!

P: I give telepathic and radioactive shout-outs to the whole universe. Especially to my family. And how could I forget all my brothers and sisters scattered throughout each corner of the planet.

And of course a shout-out to you. Thanks so much for everything!

Reflection and Response.

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Feature: Richard Harris

Richard Harris takes the Reflection and Response interview to heart. In this piece, Rich informs about his perspective becoming an integral part of the Madrid music scene coming from England,  highlights the role that Reflection and Response has played in some recent events in his life, and stresses the importance of creativity and expression. The interview touches on the talent found throughout the Spanish capital city and how this Collective inspires artistic creation. Three of Richard’s tracks accompany the interview to provide an audio reference to the interesting and enlightening words below. Without further adieu, we’re proud to present Richard Harris.

The Red Telephones

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

RH:  I’m from Basildon, Essex. Close to London & famous for being home to Depeche Mode & very little else! Where am I at? Good question. Here in Madrid & immersing myself further & further into what is, at the moment, a vibrant music scene. I’m currently running the open mic at Triskel Tavern, recording an album with my band The Red Telephones & playing live whenever I can. There are so many people making good music in the city at the moment & I take the opportunity to see just about all of them when they play live.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

RH: Reflection & Response. Still a difficult one this is. I lost one of my oldest friends to cancer just over a year ago & my response was to write a song about him because I miss him. Recently, my mum had cancer & it was a difficult time for my family. Fortunately she is ok now. The response was at once to write a song about it. I also split with my girlfriend around the same time, so no prizes for guessing what the response was! Let’s just say it’s not going to be the happiest of albums when it’s done. On reflection, I have to move on for my sake but I’m still finding it hard regarding Lee. I miss him, simple as that.

How does your work fit in with that definition?

RH: Read the above. Lee’s Tune, The Ties That Bind & Love Is Blind. It’s difficult to remove yourself from your own writing but I reckon The Ties That Bind is possibly the best thing I’ve ever written.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

RH: I’m incredibly insecure about my voice, probably because I know so many great vocalists here in Madrid so I went into the studio during Semana Santa & recorded a cover version for the first time. The song is an old traditional called I Know My Rider & I know the song because The Byrds did a version of it. I wanted to see if I could sing in a different style than the Joe Strummer/Punk Rock thing that I normally do. I think it worked & I’m happy with the results. It has given me some ideas regarding what to do with some of the remaining vocals on the album.

Who or what inspires you?

 RH: Inspirations? Musical ones first. My biggest one is The Clash; inspiring, life changing & as a 14 year old in Essex with some of my peers drifting towards right-wing politics, The Clash coming out in favour of The Anti-Nazi League & Rock Against Racism had a powerful & lasting effect. I despise racism & racists to this day. My favourite album is Forever Changes by Love, it’s a masterpiece, simple as that & if you haven’t heard it make sure you do a.s.a.p. I’m a massive fan of The Stone Roses, La’s, Byrds, Velvet Underground, Stooges, Stones, MC5, Bo Diddley, Dylan, 13th Floor Elevators, New York Dolls, Pistols, Smiths & countless others. I’m into most types of music, very big on reggae & currently really digging country for the first time in my life, in fact I don’t know how I lived without it for so long. As I type this I’m listening to the Black Angels, proof that there are still good bands out there.

Life Inspirations? Anyone who has stood up against oppression—Gandhi, Mandela, Rosa Parks, Victor Jara, Jan Palach etc; all of these are bigger heroes than any musician.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

RH: What else? Well, not that it really matters but I’m not exactly young. When I came here 4.5 years ago I’d pretty much given up music & I’m still in a state of shock that this is actually happening! I didn’t expect to finally be recording, gigging & organizing open mic nights in my 40s. I’m happy that I am though-it feels great. I really get a buzz out of watching other musicians, particularly the ones who are nervous to begin with, just like I was. Watching their confidence grow & their stage presence improve is really satisfying.

Shout out to…?

RH: Too many people to mention because there are so many wonderful musicians & friends so I’m going to keep it in house. Woody, former open mic host, Red Telephones drummer & Pop Robinson Guitarist/Singer gets the biggest shout of all. If he hadn’t encouraged me to come back after a rabbit in the headlights first night at Triskel I wouldn’t be doing this interview now. Not only is he a fantastic musician he’s a top bloke, even if he prefers Guns & Roses to the Stone Roses!

 Padraig O’Connor. A fantastic composer & singer songwriter in his own right, Padraig plays piano & sings backing vocals for the Red Telephones. His own stuff is great & ‘Cream Seems Fine’ is one of the best songs I’ve heard by anybody in recent years & I wish I had written it myself!

 Amber Stiles. Best voice in Madrid as far as I’m concerned. She has contributed backing vocals to some tracks on the current album. Her sweet vocals are a wonderful antidote to my less than dulcet Essex tones.

 Joe Wellwood. Not an open mic regular but the new Red Telephones bassist. Great musician & top bloke as well.

 Rob Green. Former resident of Madrid & owner of Spaceland studios. Rob has produced all of the Red Telephones recordings & played bass on the second album. He has also played live with us, on one occasion learning an entire set in a matter of days when another bass player had to cancel a gig.

 Mark Doran, now in Korea but bass player on the first album. Also a shout to Rhys Berry, former Triskel regular & now Barcelona resident who played harmonica on Chime & Melanie Lawrence who played viola & violin on The Ties That Bind & a number of other tracks.

 Last but not least, Jim Montague. My best friend & a fantastic percussionist. He’s on the current album playing a variety of instruments & singing poignant backing vocals on Lee’s Tune. He misses him too.

The Red Telephones mobile upload

-Reflection and Response

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Original Mondays: Pay

This track came about from the Berkeley Sessions that V, Megan, and I had back over New Years. Cue banjo, Synth sounds from Massive, Reason 5 drums, some electric guitar work, Ableton mixing via this new crazy Akai Apc 40, Megan and my vocals and you have “Pay.” I’ll be debuting the track live at an upcoming show at Andy’s Bar in Madrid this Wednesday.

The lyrics came from two sessions. My first verse was recorded a few days before we did any work with Megan. However Megan, V, and I went out for some food at Lilly’s, the famous North Berkeley Chinese food spot and we discussed family and how sometimes at the beginning of our twenties we can think we’re ready for huge responsibilities. The lyrics I recorded during the previous session deal with age- it was almost serendipitous that we had that conversation at lunch. We later touched on these ideas in the chorus.

 

“I don’t ever wanna pay for aging that is just something that I don’t do. And I don’t ever wanna laugh for ages, I just wanna hold you.”

“Pay for aging, not enough. Insane we make things, let’s live for once.”

 

Megan

 

Pete

 

Reflection and Response

-P

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Post 11/12

After a private English class lasting an hour and a half and cooking some dinner I had some time to put something together for the post today. Started with an acoustic guitar fingerpicking pattern on D major. Then threw some drums from Reason around with some drums from León and claps from California. Finally sampled the guitar part for the second part of the track. Reason/Ableton/Acoustic Guitar.

Reflection and Response.

-P

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Feature: Taylor Mann

We are proud to continue the LIFESTYLE’s Feature series with Taylor Mann. Taylor has been an active creator- producing and writing music throughout Washington State and Madrid Spain. In Madrid he continues to perform throughout the city in various neighborhoods at venues such as Triskel Tavern, El Hombre Moderno, and more. As Fala Gringo, he released a self produced EP of original tunes this summer. Check the interview below for his unique perspective on Reflection and Response and links to his tracks Hole and The Bad Seed.

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

TM: I’m from Seattle by way of Camano Island, Washington, a little rural island about an hour to the north of the city. It’s beautiful and quiet and everyone knows each other. It is a pretty typical American small-town sort of place in that guns, country music, church and high school football rule the day, but I enjoy roughly 50% of those things so it’s not so bad. I moved to Seattle at 18 to attend UW and have become depressingly urban, with soft hands and tendencies toward snobbery. Instead of going to law school, I moved to Madrid where I spent the last year working as an English teaching assistant. I like Madrid and I don’t know when I’ll leave (although I wrote this as I was visiting my home island, sitting in my parents’ house and realizing that my natural habitat is being surrounded by water and pine trees).

What does Reflection and Response mean to you?

TM: It’s often hard to really absorb many of our experiences while they’re happening beyond that which is visceral and immediate. You could define reflection as a post-game breakdown of sorts, or like that part at the end of a political speech where men and women in suits argue about what it all means. I think the things that have happened to me that were the worst in the moment have provided the most interesting fodder for reflection. Response would probably be what your reflection leads you to do.

How does your music fit in with that definition?

TM: I suppose my songs are usually me trying to work through something, so they let me sort of look at what I’ve been thinking when I’m not in the moment. I don’t really know whether that’s reflecting or responding.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

TM: This summer I self-recorded an EP called The Swoon EP with the help of my friend Alex Madden who played most of the drums and percussion and the bass on Strange Physics. I’m calling myself Fala Gringo because it sounds more interesting than my name. The album is made up of 5 of the songs I wrote over the last year I spent in Madrid and you can download it for free at http://falagringo.bandcamp.com/ if you want. I’ve been recording myself since high school, but this is the first cohesive group of songs I’ve ever put out as a complete work. I’m back in Madrid and writing songs again, but I’m also beginning the planning for a second EP with at least 5 more of last year’s songs. I hauled over all the relevant gear in my suitcase so I can set up a recording room in my piso here. I’m also going to be helping my friend Sam with some electronic based songs he’s made which is something I’m really excited about.

Who or what inspires you?

TM: Hard-core drugs, mostly.

Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

TM: I don’t actually do hard-core drugs.

Shout out to…?

TM: The Soup House. RIP.

——————–

The Bad Seed:

Holes:

Reflection and Response.

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Snapshots From the Collective

Radio Leon (Robledo de Fenar, León, España) by Peter Muller

 

Reflection and Response.

The Snapshots from the Collective series works to create a space for Reflection and Response through photography. ANYone who wants to contribute ANY photos to this project can email us submissions at the.lifestyle.rr@gmail.com. One photo will be posted each week, and photos will only be used for the purposes of this series. Thank you and we look forward to building and expanding the Collective!!! -P & V

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Feature: Steve Laciak

Steve Laciak is a multifaceted and multitalented musician. Upon graduating from Shenandoah Conservatory with a major in Jazz Studies, Steve has been writing, recording, teaching, and performing throughout the United States and abroad. His last few years have been spent in the Northern California town of Alameda, across the bay from San Fransisco. There he has been developing his own music in addition to playing with Motown legend Martha Reeves and the group A Gozar featuring cajon player Rene Escovido. Check the Reflection and Response Interview below and Steve’s Soundcloud to listen in on a True Artist.

Leading off with some basics, where are you from? And where are you at?

SL: I’m from back East, born in St. Paul but raised in upstate NY. After studying Jazz in VA I toured Europe and the Caribbean before settling in the San Francisco Bay Area. Being fortunate enough to travel and be exposed to many different cultures, deeper than surface levels of tourist traps, I have recognized the importance of music to people around the world. It is a universal expression, but also helps shape a culture’s identity. It transcends every distinction that has evolved throughout human history, and yet it continues to keep us connected despite our limited understanding of language, sound or music. We do not need to “understand” the music to enjoy it or for it to affect us.

What does Reflection and Response mean to you? How does your music fit in with that definition?

SL:  As an artist, I’m often consciously addressing issues of the day on a trans-personal or a personal level. We voice concerns that are shared by our friends, families, community or cultures, as a loud speaker. Throughout history, movements either political or social, have been accompanied by musical movements. Music has wide ranging affects from calming to exciting, consoling to galvanizing, it can be therapeutic and it can bring tears. I feel it my responsibility to share music that blesses me with everyone I can. There is so much wonderful music already in the world, that it’s difficult to be familiar with it all. With so much new music or music yet to be written, it’s important to remember our musical heritage and traditions while we embrace the new. I love sharing the gift of music, continuing the tradition that has always existed, and if this is not the responsibility of artist then who’s is it?

When I reflect on the divine nature of music it becomes obvious how powerful it is. The more music we can appreciate, or begin to appreciate, the more ways we open ourselves to to the wonderful joy and blessings that music gives. We can benefit in ways we may not fully understand, but our lives become enriched from it regardless.

What else have you been working on recently? What are you looking to work on next?

SL: I’ve been working on a new EP; it should be out this summer. It’s along the indie folk acoustic tip. We were in studio this week working on “Big Shot”, the most country sounding song on the EP, and we recorded the guitar solo as a conversation between myself and the engineer, Jim Hawthorne. He’s an amazing guitarist so we traded phrases back and forth and finished with a harmonized line ala Chet Atkins! I’m hoping to get some airplay with this new CD and garner some national attention.

 Is there anything else you would like the Collective to know?

SL: I’m moving from my home 12 years in the bay area to Tennessee, next month. It’s a very exciting time in my life! I’m looking forward to what the immediate future has in store.

Tennessee Lullaby by Steve Laciak

Check out Steve’s Facebook profile and Soundcloud for updates and recordings!

Reflection and Response.

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Two Tracks From a Documentary

Seattle, 2010. Just back from Argentine study abroad. My friend Yasmeen was finishing her film studies at the University of Southern Califronia and was doing a documentary and asked for some tracks. I put these together and she ended up using “Yasmeen Slower,” in the film.

Yasmeen Louder:

Yasmeen Slower

Reflection and Response

-P

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The Last Throwback December: Livin on the West Coast and YarraY

This December/January throwback series has been a look back to the early days of our creativity. We thank everybody that has been riding with us, and we hope that other artists might want to look back on their collections and see their Reflection and Response in progression.

Livin on the West Coast, made earlier than YarraY, was from late 2005. Livin starts with a wah-wah guitar intro with V’s signature driving keyboard elements and baseline and goes into a lead section with some distortion. We toy with using different pickup settings on the guitar for the chorus, with the first part of the chorus sounding more muffled and bassy then the full pickup second half. The track then turns into a synth string mash-up with distorted guitar, a style that appears on other tracks (see taquito). This track shows how we were incorporating various styles, including but not limited to hip-hop and rock, into our arrangements.

Livin on the West Coast

YarraY was an initial foray into sampling. One of our favorite artists ais Ray Charles. For the first part of the track, we took the chord structure and melody from Ray’s Unchain My Heart. While the first half of our track follows a bluesy vibe, we change it up when we bring in  Don’t Set Me Free and throw some synth and 808-drums. We then slow it down at the end of the track as it fades into the future.

YarraY

 

Reflection and Response.

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